By Monica Magnetti for YourTango.com.
On January 31st we begin the Year of the Horse, the Chinese symbol for 2014. Last year, I encouraged you to learn all the business and love lessons from the Snake so that you could sprint toward the Year of the Horse. Now, that was a challenge for many of you, because the Snake is notoriously disliked! The Horse, on the other hand, is easy to embrace. An elegant, graceful creature, full of diverse symbolism, the Horse, for many of us, represents intelligence, power and beauty.
It’s impossible to appreciate the full power of the Horse without knowing its place in mythology. So first, a quick refresher: Pegasus, a pure white winged stallion, is one of the best-known creatures in Greek mythology. Pegasus was entrusted by Zeus to bring lightning and thunder down from Mount Olympus so that humans could have fire. The philosopher Carl Jung saw Pegasus as a profound symbol of spiritual energy, gaining access to the kingdom of the gods on Mount Olympus. Pegasus represents the positive instinctual forces of the subconscious that unify polarities, for example, between what is godlike and what is human.
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In many ancient mythologies, the white horse is a shaman mount or the personification of water. In modern times, it is the steed that carries princes to lost or endangered princesses. Quite a versatile beast, if you ask me. The white horse represents what is good and magical, and elevates us to our higher self. Its counterpart, the black horse, is the dark side and the connection to our demonic self.
An animal so symbolically versatile is the perfect connection to our own versatile inner self. As you move into the Year of the Horse in your personal and business life, what metaphor inspires you?
Working Horse: Individual Work & Personal Growth
Whether they are munching on grass or working, horses can deliver individually. The working horse shows us how a single unit can make a tangible difference. While it’s uncommon to see horses working on farms in North America, when I drive through the countryside of Italy, it’s easy to find horses working individually in the fields, plowing land or cultivating crops.
There is something intensely powerful about watching a horse. Horses can relate to other animals and to humans, to their own breed and to others. They lend a calmness and competence to wherever they are and whatever they are doing. They are hardworking, yet beautiful and intelligent in ways that elevate them above the hard work. Ask yourself who you are in your individual work. How can the horse inspire you to find your inner calm and playfulness in ways that enhance your work? If you were a horse, what would set you apart from all the other horses?
The Black Stallion: Beauty and Purpose
We can all visualize the black stallion kicking up his heels and neighing, conquering the very air around him and demanding our attention and respect. Whether it is the demon or the do-gooder Zorro on his broad back, the black stallion wins the spotlight.
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We marvel at his beauty and purpose, his power and freedom, and are inspired by his independence. A photographer friend of mine once told me that people are fascinated by beautiful animals, and that some even inspire the soul to match their beauty and personality.
The black stallion represents individual strength and purpose, and the ability to accomplish anything with grace yet prepotency. He grabs and holds our attention, and gets the job done. Metaphorically, the black stallion is the foil of the winged beauty of Pegasus and its connection to Heaven — the stallion connects us to the deeper and much more challenging dark side of our personality. At the same time, he guides us as we embrace our fears and supports us as we face our challenges.
If you were a black stallion, what would you set out to conquer?
Pegasus: Connecting to the Heavens
As the bearer of Zeus’s divine thunderbolt, Pegasus soars in the mythological sky and is transformed into a constellation to honor him for his earthly and heavenly deeds.
What better legend for a mystical creature? A white winged horse, born out of the blood issuing from Medusa’s neck when she was decapitated by Perseus, Pegasus was loved and admired by humans, gods and goddesses. Able to fly to the top of Mount Olympus and win Zeus’ trust, Pegasus symbolizes our inherent power and ability to pursue any mission in life, even when the path is strewn with complications. From the legend comes the Pegasus Syndrome, the ability to fly over any situation and conquer realms seemingly out of reach.
Who would you be if you explored your inherent connection to a higher source? If you were fearless and trusting of your powerful nature and purity of spirit? Imagine your life guided by trust and your powerful presence.
Wild Herd: Power in Teamwork
Not many people have had the luck to see a herd of wild horses thundering across the terrain, though fortunately we have photographs and videos. Free and self-assured, without boundaries yet fully grounded, these herds of mixed age and size and color show us the power of the team.
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With not one member out of step, they cover huge distances in syntonic rhythm, conquering their space, living one day at a time, yet with a strategy that ensures that they all thrive. Who wouldn’t wish for such ability to relate to one’s environment and find balance in their workplace, personal and family life? What inspiration can you take from the herd of wild horses to free your team to find its best? How can you lead your team — and your family — so that every member can gain the freedom to stand tall?
White Horse: Waiting for the Prince
While the modern white horse may be the rescuer of maidens, it is, in truth, much more than that. The white horse symbolizes the way in which our inner prince unites with our inner princess. Most of the fairy tales we love so well have been misinterpreted by modern society. They do not in fact represent feminine weakness being rescued by masculine strength. Instead, they tell us that we all have a weak inner self and a strong inner self. It is only when the two come together that we become the complete person we are. The white horse represents the bridge between these two polarities.
What parts of yourself feel insufficient and want to be rescued by a prince on a white horse? What parts need to come together so that you can find your full inner strength? Who would you be if you were the white horse connecting the polarities within you?
Horses are powerful figures in most religions and mythologies. Many myths depict the horse’s clairvoyance and ability to recognize the magic in humans. Some depict the horse as a symbol of strength and allegiance, and as one of the few animals that show sorrow over the loss of a dead master. A symbol of loyalty and deep connection, the horse also embodies the warrior spirit, bravery and courage.
In this Year of the Horse, expand your understanding of your inner self. Challenge yourself to embrace the qualities the Horse brings forth in you. Guided by its warrior spirit and benevolent disposition, may the Horse nudge you out of your comfort zone and into a year that is out of this world.
Monica Magnetti — Professional Certified Life / Business Coach, Brand Consultant and proud Your Tango Expert. Monica has designed free products for you and your team so that you can gallop toward your goals and desires with ease. Download Monica’s free eBook, Spark Success in Your Business: 10 Elements of a Strong Business Foundation and Successful Internet Branding, and apply those 10 elements as you sprint to the finish line. XOXO
This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: The Year Of The Horse: Gallop Toward Your Destiny.